Chelsea don't need Grant

Madness hits Chelsea! They finish runners up in the Premier League and only narrowly lose to Manchester United in the Champions League Final on penalties..... So what do the club do..... sack the manager! Marvellous... Good luck to the new man, he will have to win the Champions League, FA Cup, Premier League, League Cup and the Egg Cup to keep his job....

Avram Grant has been sacked as manager of Chelsea, this being after less than one season in charge. His future at the English Premier League giants has attracted fierce speculation almost from the time he replaced Jose Mourinho eight months ago. Grant was the quietly spoken manager rarely getting excited win or lose, whereas "the special one" Jose was the opposite type of character, full of emotion, expression and winding up the press.

So what type of manger are they looking for now? The names in the frame to succeed the Israeli include Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini, Russia's Dutch boss Guus Hiddink, Barcelona's Frank Rijkaard and Ken Dodd of Knotty Ash. My favourite being the latter!

Despite the constant questioning over his position, Grant, a close friend of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, (some friend!) had been credited with leading the club to their first ever Champions League final.

He also oversaw their late surge for the league title, taking United down to the final day of the season before they were forced to settle for second place. Better than any manager at the club before? In the club's mind second place is just not good enough. Does that mean that all the clubs in the Premier League have failed as well, and will change their managers as well?

I wish Avram Grant all the best in the future and he can hold his head up high.

The dreaded penalty shoot-out...

So, the final ends in a draw... even after extra time and it's onto the nail biting penalty shoot-out which is not for the feint hearted and certainly not good for the chosen penalty kicker! The best player to be in this situation is either the goalkeeper who can be the hero or be the player not taking one at all!!

The latest victims of that sinking feeling of loosing a shoot out were Chelsea against Manchester United in the Champions League Final in Moscow. Ouch, that hurt John Terry (pictured distraught right) when he missed that crucial kick.... Fabulous way to end a game with high drama but so so cruel for the loosing team and such jubilation for the winners... Unfortunately there has to be a winner on the day so this is an option....?!

Here are a few famous players who have missed crucial spot kicks....

1. Roberto Baggio, Italy v Brazil - 1994 World Cup Final
The first World Cup Final to end in penalty shoot-out ended in sadness for Baggio, one of the players of the tournament as he blasted over the bar from 12 yards and the World Cup ended as it had begun: singer Diana Ross opened proceedings with a spot-kick that would have missed the goal on the next pitch.

2. David Beckham, England v Portgual - Euro 2004 quarter-finals
England's newest centurion is not unfamiliar with the sensation of missing from the white spot. In fact he missed three in a row: against Turkey (he fell over); against France (Fabien Barthez made the save); against Portugal when he sent it high and wide in the first kick of a losing shoot-out.

3. Martin Palermo, Argentina v Colombia - Copa America 1999
Spare a thought for poor Martin Palermo. The Argentine didn't just miss a penalty when playing for his country, he missed three as his team lost 3-0.

4. Brian McClair, Manchester United v Arsenal-FA Cup 5th round 88
McClair had a chance to bring United back level with a last minute spot-kick. Not only did the Scot have the ignominy of missing as his side lost 2-1 but he also had Nigel Winterburn in his ear all the way back to the half-way line.

5. Fehed Nicass, Dynamo Kiev
The identity of this individual, his team and the opponents are all uncertain, but he certainly knew how to fluff a penalty in style.

Is there anyone you would like to add to our list?

Not all penalty kick are simple as you will see in link below...

Athletics...short history

Athletic Events were an integral part of the sport competitions held in the classical days. Some of the competitions of those days were the Pythian Games, the Nemean Games and the Isthmian Games, which were all the Pan-Hellenic Games. There were also the Roman Games. Athletics was also the main event in the first Summer Games.

However, in the Roman Games, sports like chariot racing (pictured), wrestling and later on the gladiatorial combat commanded a greater fan following as compared to the athletics. The athletics were of course a part of combat training.

In Europe, various athletic events became popular from those early days. The sports became popular in Britain during the period between thirteenth and sixteenth century. Now there are many international events, where the track and field athletics is a major attraction. The field of international track and field athletics is governed by International Association of Athletics Federations or IAAF.

Track And Field Events in Athletics: Track and field athletics is a collection of three sports disciplines. These disciplines are running, throwing and jumping. The origin of the name, “athletics” is the Greek word, “athlon”. In Greek, the meaning of “athlon” is “contest". In some languages, track and field athletics are referred to as “light athletics” to differentiate them from the “heavy athletics”. The sport events included in the “heavy athletics” are weight lifting and wrestling. The track and field athletics is more of a direct manifestation of the Olympic motto, “Citius, Altius, Fortius”, which means “faster, higher, stronger”.

In the present time, modern track and field athletics are generally held on a running track of 400 meters length. The track events or the running events take place on the track. The field enclosed within the track is used for staging the field events like jumping, vaulting and throwing. The athletics competitions for men and women are held separately. The distance of the sprint events are generally the same for men and women. However, the barriers in the hurdle and steeplechase events are lowered for women. The weight of the shot, javelin, hammer and discus are also less in women's competition.

Archery...past and present

A Brief History of the Bow:
The earliest bow was found in Europe and dated at around 9,000BC. In Scotland the earliest found is 4040-3650BC. The earliest found in England is 2600BC.

Longbows were so called to distinguish them from crossbows. The English proved their longbows were much quicker to use and in medieval times various sorts were developed. (photo left of Henry VIII with a longbow)

Hunting Bow
Potential game were herded toward the bowmen sited in a camouflaged area, who shot at 20-30 yard range with bows of 60-70lb draw weight which was just light enough to hold and aim.

Birding Bow
Strung with silken string for quietness, mostky aimed at Herons, using flu-flu arrows which were easier to find and also only stunned the birds, not damaging them.

War Bow
Shot at 120-200 yard range with a pull of 100-160lb. Not aimed specifically but used en masse to create an arrow storm. (Battle of Hastings / Bayeau Tapestry).

Drovers/Rural Bow
Made of boughs of seasoned ash which would have been already cut for fences etc. The shapwood forms the back of the bow and the heartwood used for the rounded belly.
Each bow took four years to make as horn and hoof glue could only be used in the Spring. England became short of staves and were imported as a tax.

18th Century Recreational Bow
Mainly made of Rosewood. The sport of Archery was developed by the Victorians as a leisure activity shooting at 120 yards which is 7.5 (N) or 5.5(S) roods. Originally a masculine domain but when ladies and families were introduced to archery the clubs began to swell their numbers enormously.

An interesting video link below on the basics of Archery:-

Cricket verses Baseball

Saw a bit of baseball the other night and it struck me how "very different" it is compared to a "proper" sport like cricket.

Cricket is a sport of empire, played in smart clothes, involves gardening and cups of tea. It also has many variations on the game from very quick "twenty-twenty" which lasts two hours to the traditional cat & mouse five day Test Match which lasts up to five days.

It's a game that all types of people play from the Lawyer to the man down the market. The game is subtle unlike the bish bash baseball. It is played in good spirit almost anywhere if you have a bat & ball. In India they play in the road & in West Indies they are on the beach.

So to Baseball. It is a game played by only rebellious colonials, involves fashion-free clothing, fat people, catching with big gloves and spitting. Why do they need the big gloves? Perhaps the ball is too hard for their hands? Baseball is really a grand version of rounders which is played in private schools by children. It's certainly dangerous for the person batting that someone can throw a ball at you up to 100mph without bouncing needs good reactions to get out of the way. Oh... and by the way you can have a round small bat to waft at the ball like trying to swat an annoying insect. Even the umpire or ref has got padding on. I mean!

Really there is no comparison......

Cricket's a sport, Baseball's just a game!!

English 2007/8 football season closes...

So what of it? Another season draws to a close and what's happened that we did not expect to occur during this season? Whilst the English National side failed to qualify for Euro 2008, the top two English sides made it to the Champions League Final in Moscow! I understand that there are many non English players in both sides, but it is an odd fact. Perhaps this may kick start the England Team into action!!

Premier League Winners:- Man United or Chelsea (predictable from the outset, with the possible inclusion of Arsenal who fell away late into the season). In the end Man United won the title.

Relegation:- Derby - their squad was not added to when they got promoted - So they were always going to struggle. A note of warning for their replacements next year. Fulham managed to win their final match to send Birmingham City & Reading down.

FA Cup.. For a change, the top teams are not in the final. Good for the game that is dominated by large clubs & money driven. It's ironic that Cardiff supporters will have to go to Wembley for the final & not stay in their home town, or will Pompy come good after their recent bad form?

New Arrivals to the Premier League next year? Who will join West Brom & Stoke? Will they do any better than the three sides that came down will do? It's going to be very tough for these teams.

The pick for me from the other leagues: Leicester going down from the Championship, they continue their slide down the leagues. In League One, Leeds ended up with 76 points which was a fantastic achivement to get into the play-offs, as before a ball has been kicked that they were deducted 15 points. They could have gone up as runners up. League Two, MK Dons keep up there march through the divisions, whereas Wrexham drop out of the league to be replaced by Aldershot.